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With the Oscars a distant memory and Emmy nomination announcements set for July 20, award season is on its ever-shrinking hiatus. Yet requests for complementary gowns, jewels and other products and services keep coming, the cause having shifted from celebrity to charity.

scsnts“I never say no to a cause,” said Rita Watnick, an owner of vintage couture boutique Lily et Cie and one of Friday night’s honorees at the West Side Center for Independent Living benefit at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The Beverly Hills boutique is widely credited with sparking the vintage couture craze among young Hollywood.

New and vintage Versace, Yves Saint Laurent and Halston were among the two dozen A-list designer gowns and accessories contributed to the auction and fashion show.

“I’ve always given,” continued Watnick, dressed in a Fifties Balenciega gown. “But I’ve never done anything as active as this. When WCIL said they wanted to honor me and

Charitable choice came to life in a haphazard way. In early 1995, Carl Esbeck, a professor at the University of Missouri Law School, was preparing for a presentation on the regulation of religious organizations that receive government assistance. At the time, the only faith-based entities that were eligible for federal funding were those with arm’s-length religious affiliations, such as Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army. Such groups were prohibited from delivering religious messages and could not discriminate in the hiring of staff. Esbeck thought that eligibility should be expanded to include all faith-based providers, even those that deliver religious messages in their social programs. To make this point, he drafted legislation outlining federal guidelines that could make such an expansion possible. He passed the draft to a former student who was working for Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo. Ashcroft liked it and, after a few revisions, included it in legislation he introduced in the Senate that …

The hope of a rising sense of social responsibility in the technology industry has the philanthropic world salivating. industry watchers agree that as the industry matures, its companies will assimilate with mainstream business culture, becoming both politically active and starting to give back to their communities along the way. Indeed, though the industry has long shunned the notion of government participation/interference, in mid-July it formed a Silicon Valley-based political interest group called Technology Network. Why? It realized last year that it could make a difference after the ad hoc formation of an anti-Prop 211 group in California.

bfcLikewise, it’s going to take the same realization to push technology denizens into societal contribution on any real scale. Sure, the big players have long given products to schools and the like. In fact, three of the top five givers across all U.S. industries hail from tech — IBM, HP and more recently Microsoft, says Deborah Morad, editor